Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Running on Empty in Finale; Offense Abandons Run after Falling Behind; Johnson Derails Defense

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Running on Empty in Finale; Offense Abandons Run after Falling Behind; Johnson Derails Defense

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL C. WRIGHT

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jack Del Rio's football philosophy is simple: run the ball and stop the run.

The Jaguars whiffed on both accounts Sunday in a season-ending 35-30 loss at Kansas City.

The Chiefs racked up 170 rushing yards against a Jacksonville squad with a reputation for snuffing out the run. Kansas City running back Larry Johnson spearheaded the mauling by gouging the Jaguars for three touchdowns and 138 yards on 33 carries.

Jacksonville allowed a season-high in rushing yardage against the Chiefs.

The previous high was the 152 yards posted by the Washington Redskins on Oct. 1.

"We're capable of better," Del Rio said.

But it didn't look that way from the start on Sunday. Johnson reeled off a 12-yard gain on his first carry. By the end of the first half, Johnson had run for 58 yards (4.8-yard average) and a touchdown.

"You know you don't have to worry about tiring me out because you know how far I can go," Johnson said.

Jacksonville figured that out, too. But it didn't seem to help over the course of Sunday's game.

Johnson rang up an additional 75 yards in the second half on 21 attempts. He finished the game with a franchise single-season rushing record (1,789 yards) and a NFL record for attempts (416) in a season.

"He's clearly that good," Del Rio said. "He's a tough runner, but if you don't take care of your responsibilities, if you don't gap it correctly, he's the kind of guy who can make you hurt."

Free safety Deon Grant agreed. Several times, linebackers responsible for filling backside gaps missed assignments. But they weren't the only ones struggling to contain Johnson.

On a run up the middle in the second quarter, Johnson juked Grant for a 40-yard gain. He carried the ball four times in the five-play drive spanning 63 yards, capping it with a 1-yard run. …

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